The Nationals Port Welshpool Wellington Shire South Gippsland Shire Council Blue infrastructure fund Boats Boat Ramps Jetty Fees

Councils left to foot Labor’s bill

The Nationals Member for Gippsland South, Danny O’Brien says the Andrews Labor Government’s policy to remove boat ramp parking and launching fees is unfair to Gippsland councils and their ratepayers.

Mr O’Brien said the way the policy was being implemented would punish shires that were not charging usage fees to cover maintenance costs – instead only offering subsidies to those that did.

“Shires like Wellington and South Gippsland that meet these maintenance costs out of general rate revenue (with the exception of Port Welshpool) will get nothing, meaning they are being massively short changed,” Mr O’Brien said.

“We already pay exorbitant council rates in the country compared to city councils and now Labor is tipping the balance further against Gippsland ratepayers.

“Mornington Shire (that has six ramps) will receive over half a million dollars compensation from the state and Hobson’s Bay (two ramps) will receive $356,000 from Daniel Andrews’ coffers as this is what they raised from fees annually to maintain the facilities.

“However, Wellington Shire, that has to maintain 15 ramps and car parks will receive nothing and South Gippsland Shire will only receive a small allowance for Port Welshpool, but nothing for the other 8 ramps and car parks it maintains.

“It feels like I’m saying this daily at this point, but this is yet another example of poorly thought-out policy from a city-centric Andrews Labor Government.

“The government is essentially picking up the boat ramp and car park maintenance bill for predominantly metro councils, while others like Wellington Shire that did not charge fees on locals and visitors, but rather maintained these facilities from general rate revenue, get zilch.

“This city-centric Labor Government needs to have a fair system, not yet another policy that disadvantages regional Victorians.”

The Nationals Member for Gippsland South, Danny O’Brien says the Andrews Labor Government is short changing local shires with the implementation of its policy to remove boat ramp fees.

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